June 29, 2018
Today I’m 7 weeks post-op and 11 weeks finished with chemo. It’s been a long and rough week. I’m tired. Mentally and physically. The first couple of radiation appointments this week were stressful. The past couple of weeks have left me feeling frustrated and powerless. I’ve never been a big fan of being told that I can’t do something. I’m getting really tired of hearing that I have to continue to put the rest of my life on hold because cancer’s more important.
Let me say this today, too – if you get
a breast cancer, a cancer diagnosis and they give you a recommendation that includes skipping chemo, take it. Don’t let your fear push you into poisoning your body if you don’t have to. New research is showing that they don’t have to give chemo to everyone, and that some folks are requesting it anyway. If I’d had that option, I’d have bypassed chemo. The side effects of this stuff are almost as bad as, or worse than, the disease, and they don’t go away as soon as you’re done getting it. For some side effects, it will take months, or even years to go away, if they go away at all. So, if you’re given a choice, stay chemo free as long as you can.
Actually, don’t let fear dictate any decision you make about your treatment. Educate yourself as much as you can on your options and discuss them thoroughly with your care team. If you don’t have a good relationship with your doctors, find someone with whom you can trust to help you make the best decisions for yourself. It may not always feel like it, but you do have choices.
Post-surgery-wise, I’m doing great. I have pretty decent range of motion this week – I’ve been working on this pretty hard. My incisions look pretty good. There is still some bruising apparent on my skin on both sides from all the work she had to do. There’s also still a lump on my right side where she moved and re-attached tissue to give that breast continuity where the tumor was removed. Those are all normal things, and I’m good with them.
At the Radiation Oncologist’s suggestion, and for the love of my bank account, I went back to work last week. I cannot imagine how people who aren’t offered short-term disability or other paid leave do this. I have great benefits and this is still a rough road.
The neuropathy is still there. Still better some days than others. I needed new shoes and found that Mizunos feel better than the Saucony’s did. I’m hoping to be able to get out and about more.
In the past week or so, I’ve noticed that my nail beds are turning purple again, I’ve started having joint pain after I’ve been sitting a bit, and my vision seems to be changing, which may be more that I’m 53, my eyes are changing anyway, and they don’t tolerate going back and forth between glasses and contacts as much as they used to. Although, I do have to say that my eyes are drier since starting chemo than they used to be. I’m also finding those pimples on and around my eyelids again as well as the sores I’ve had for months in my nose. I thought these weren’t side effects of Herceptin. I raised them to the Oncologist. She’s thinking they are late effects of the Taxol. So… lesson for the day: it’s going to take a very l-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g time for chemo to leave my body and for my body to recover from being attacked by this poison.
Something I noticed a few weeks back and thought it was just because my body hair was growing back from zero, was that the hair itself is pretty fragile. When I look at my new unibrow and try to pluck some of the stray hairs there, they’re really, really fine and just come right out. I thought they’d get stronger, but they’re not. Maybe the next round they will be tougher.
The hair on my head appears to be filling in a bit more. It’s still about 1/2″ – 3/4″ long and pretty gray. It still feels pretty fine, so that part so far hasn’t changed much. I’m hoping it starts growing faster soon. I want to make it purple so bad…
My appetite is still not great. I’m still finding it hard to eat a lot of foods I used to. Some because my teeth are still sensitive, the rest because they just don’t taste good anymore. I guess the wonky taste in my mouth will be with me until I’m all done with the maintenance chemo. Maybe by then I’ll have completely given up on a lot of the things that taste gross now.
The chemobrain felt worse this week. Stress seems to affect it some, and it’s been a stressful couple of weeks. I’m still struggling a lot with reading. I can manage articles online, but I keep having to stop and go back and re-read sections in a book. Learning new stuff still makes my brain feel like pudding and so tired that I need a nap. I have noticed lately that I am not losing as many words, and that when I do, I’m getting them back a little sooner. While I was still on AC chemo, they wouldn’t come back at all. So thankful they are now.